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ART H 381 A: Art Since World War II

Meeting Time: 
TTh 8:30am - 10:20am
ART 003
Kolya Rice
Kolya Rice

Syllabus Description:

Art History 381a

Art since World War II         AH 381a Art since WWII Fall 2018.docx

Autumn Quarter 2018

Instructor: Kolya Rice

Office hours: T/TH 10:30-11:20 and by appointment

302 Art,

Writing Tutor: Miha Sarani (by appointment)


Course Description:

 This course is designed to introduce participants to key movements, themes and strategies utilized by Western artists since c. 1940, as well as some of the ways these practices have been framed by art criticism. Although the course offers an overview of the period covered, unlike traditional survey classes, at points this class will be more narrowly focused through topical investigations of specific artists or themes. Through a series of challenging readings we will generate discussion around many critical issues that have been addressed in the cultural sphere over the last 60 years. These include: the politics of abstraction, the role of the body, representation as a semiotic problem, gender and sexuality, authorship and reception, etc. Though slide-based lectures will anchor the course, because discussion is integral, class participation is not only required but also vital to the success of the class as well as your grade.


Required Readings:

  1. Textbook: Jonathan Fineberg. Art since 1940: Strategies of Being, third edition (New Jersey: Prentice Hall 2011).
  2. Reading Packet (Purchase at Ram Copy Center, 4144 University Way)


To help you prepare for exams, each a selection of slides viewed in class during the week will be placed on Canvas (go to the "Files" tab, then the folder "Images for Exams").  These slides will be accompanied with basic factual information (Artist, Title, Date). 


Course Requirements:

  1. Active participation in all meetings. Please note, active participation assumes that you thoroughly read and think about course materials in advance of class meetings, that you meaningfully contribute to discussions, and that you complete any informal exercises assigned.
  2. Midterm Exam
  3. 2 Art Review Essays (3-4 pages each)
  4. Final Exam

Note: make-up exams will not be given without legitimate documentation of severe illness, family emergencies, etc. Extensions for written work will be granted only under similar conditions. Late papers will not be accepted. All course requirements must be completed for credit to be awarded.




Midterm Exam (30%)

Final Exam (35%)

Art Review essays (25%)

Participation (10%)


Key dates to remember:

10/25          Art Review #1 due

11/6            Midterm exam in class

11/8            Take home component of midterm exam due in class

12/6            Art Review #2 due

12/11          Final exam 10:30-12:20     



VeriCite anti-plagairism software:
Notice: The University has a license agreement with VeriCite, an educational tool that helps prevent or identify plagiarism from Internet resources and work submitted by previous students of this course. I will use the service in this class; all assignments and quizzes you submit will be checked by VeriCite. The VeriCite Report will indicate the amount of original text in your work and whether all material that you quoted, paraphrased, summarized, or used from another source is appropriately referenced. All instances of intentional plagiarism will result in zero credit on the assignment, and a report of indicating academic dishonesty to the School of Art and the University of Washington. For further information, visit:





Course Outline and Reading Assignments

(Please have these assignments read by the date listed below.)


TH  9/27            Introduction to the course


T 10/2              Mid-century art and historical contexts

                        Fineberg 14-38.


  • Stuart Davis, “On Abstract Art,” from Abstract Painting in America (1935): 122-23.
  • Clive Bell, “The Aesthetic Hypothesis,” (1914) in Modern Art and

Modernism (1982): 67-78.

  • Edward Henning, “Surrealism: In the Footsteps of Freud,” Art News (May 1980): 122-24.


TH 10/4-         Abstract Expressionism and the hegemony of formalist criticism

T 10/9              Fineberg 57-71 (Hofmann, Gorky), 77-88 (DeKooning), 89-112 (Pollock, Newman, Rothko).


  • Foster, Krauss, Bois and Buchloh, Art since 1900: Modernism, Antimodernism, Postmodernism, vol. 2 (2004): 355-59, 439-44.
  • Clement Greenberg, “Modernist Painting,” in G. Battcock ed. The

New Art (1966):101-110.

  • Optional: Harold Rosenberg, “The American Action Painters,” (1952) from Art in Theory 1900-2000 (2003): 589-594.


TH 10/11         Critiques and transgressions of formalist criticism: The Neo-Avant Garde

Fineberg 165-178 (Rauschenberg), 194-207 (Johns), 281-292.


  • Irving Sandler. “The Duchamp-Cage Aesthetic,” The New York School (NY: Harper and Row 1978): 163-71.
  • Foster, et al (2004): 404-10, 492-95.
  • Robert Morris, “Notes on Sculpture 1 & 2,” (1966) in Continuous Project Altered Daily: The Writings of Robert Morris (1993): 1-21.


T 10/16            Postwar European painting

                        Fineberg 125-146, 209-216 (Nouveau Realisme).


  • Jean Dubuffet, “Notes for the Well-Lettered,” (1946) from Art in Theory 1900-2000 (2003): 603-605.
  • Foster, et al (2004): 337-42.



TH 10/18         Early Performance Art

                        Fineberg 182-187, 225-228 (Ono).


  • Barbara Haskell. “Happenings,” Blam! The Explosion of Pop, Minimalism and Performance 1958-64 (NY: The Whitney Museum 1984): 31-48.
  • “Fluxus,” Blam!…(1984): 49-60.


T 10/23            Pop Art

                        Fineberg 229-255.


  • Foster, et al (2004): 385-390, 445-49, 486-91.
  • Sidra Stich. “The Cultural Climate after World War II,” Made in U.S.A.: An Americanization in Modern Art, the 50’s & 60’s (Berkeley: University of California 1987): 6-13.
  • Foster, et al (2004): 415-20.
  • Walter Hopps. “A Note from the Underworld,” Kienholz: A Retrospective (NY: The Whitney Museum 1996): 24-37.


TH 10/25-       Feminism in America: essentialist vs. discursive subject

T 10/30            Fineberg 369-373, 394-95 (Sherman), 336-38 (Mendieta), 460-64.


  • Norma Broude and Mary Garrard. “Introduction: Feminism and Art in the Twentieth Century,” The Power of Feminist Art (NY Abrams 1994): 10-29, 289-290.
  • Kate Linker, excerpts from Love for Sale (NY: Abrams 1990): 12-18, 27-31, 59-64.
  • Optional: Foster, et al (2004): 565-69, 570-75, 580-83.

**Assignment due 10/25: Art Review #1


TH 11/1           Catch-up, discussion and midterm review. Each student must bring 3

 questions to class     


T 11/6              Midterm in class



TH 11/8           Video art and Light art

Fineberg, 223-226 (Paik), 490-93.


·       Foster, et al (2004): 560-64, 654-58.

·       Patricia Failing. “James Turrell’s New Light on the Universe, Art News (April 1985): 71-78.

·       Optional: Bill Viola, “Video Black—The Mortality of the Image (1990) from Contemporary Art: A Sourcebook of Artists Writings (1996): 446-50.


T 11/13            Environmental issues and art: from Earth Art to Joseph Beuys

                        Fineberg 218-223, 309-316, 344-353.


  • David Adams, “Joseph Beuys; Pioneer of a Radical Ecology, Art Journal (Summer 1992): 26-34.

TH 11/15         German Neo-Expressionism

                        Fineberg 404-418, 430-433


  • Foster, et al (2004): 612-616.
  • Andreas Huyssen. “Anselm Kiefer: The Terror of History, the Temptation of Myth,” October (Spring 1989): 25-45.

T 11/20            Art and the politics of identity

                        Fineberg: 447-452, 480-483, 499-518.


  • Optional: Foster, et al (2004): 605-611, 617-21, 639-44.

TH 11/22         No Class: Thanksgiving Holiday

T/11/27           Art and the politics of identity  (cont’d)

H 11/29         Institutional critique: the museum and “representation”


  • Lisa Corrin, “Mining the Museum: Artists Look at Museums, Museums Look at Themselves, Mining the Museum (1994): 1-22.
  • Foster, et al (2004): 496-99, 545-53, 624-29.
  • Richard Shiff. “The Necessity of Jimmy Durham’s Jokes,” Art Journal (Fall 1992): 18-27.
  • James Luna. “”I’ve Always Wanted To Be an American Indian,” Art Journal (Fall 1992): 44-50.

T 12/4              Contemporary Northwest Artists

TH 12/6           Catch-up and review for final

                        **Assignment Due: Review #2

Tuesday 12/11           Final Exam 10:30-12:20


Catalog Description: 
Art of Europe and the United States in the decades since World War II: painting, sculpture, and architecture, multiplication of new forms (video, performance pieces, land and installation pieces), changing context of patronage, publicity, and marketing.
GE Requirements: 
Social Sciences (SSc)
Arts and Humanities (A&H)
Last updated: 
October 17, 2018 - 9:11pm